Monday, December 12, 2016

Mark Rohr's League City future to be discussed in closed session Tuesday

The first and perhaps last showdown of former Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr's short tenure in League City, Texas, is scheduled for Tuesday night when the City Council meets in closed session to consider Mayor Pat Hallisey's request to fire Rohr.

The regular meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., followed by the closed session.

Rohr's League City problems are similar to problems he has had in nearly all of his previous workplaces including Joplin.

His checkered background was outlined in the April 3, 2014, Turner Report:

When former Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr stood before the Joplin City Council recently, ripped the council members who fired him for their corruption, indicated that God would pay them back in the next life for voting against him, and decried the "good old boys" who were running the city government, the Joplin Globe knew this was not the first time he had publicly made such accusations against those who dared to stand against him.

The Globe had the information, but for some reason chose never to share it with its readers.

During the entire time the Joplin Globe has been fighting a successful battle to force the city to release documents related to Osage Beach lawyer Tom Loraine's ethics investigation, the newspaper has been sitting on documents that could have shed light on the problems that have been facing the city the past several months.

The Turner Report has learned that Globe Editor Carol Stark has possession of documents that show that former City Manager Mark Rohr ran into City Council efforts to fire him at nearly every one of his previous stops, that he was consistently accused of bullying, and that when city council members stood in his way, he defended himself by claiming he was fighting the good fight against the "good old boy network."

Globe sources indicate that the problem has been that Carol Stark has a tendency to get too close to administrators who make a show of taking her into their confidence, referring specifically to Rohr and Joplin R-8 Superintendent C. J. Huff. Information that could put any of her favorites into a bad light has a hard time finding its way into the newspaper and when it does, it is generally watered down.

The Globe had documents showing that Rohr almost immediately began having problems after he became city manager of Punta Gorda, Florida. Minutes of a Punta Gorda council meeting show City Councilman John Errett saying he "could not recall when he has been more convinced that a mistake was made in the selection of a city manager." Errett referred to Rohr as a "draconian, dogmatic dictator."

Errett and another councilman attempted to have him fired, but withdrew the motion after providing Rohr with some suggestions on ways to improve his personal relations with employees, including controlling his temper.

A second effort to fire Rohr in Punta Gorda also fell short.

In a newspaper interview that the Globe also had access to, former Punta Gorda City Councilman Bruce Thompson said, "I think he was one of the worst city managers we ever had. It goes to his style of operation. He doesn't want anyone to tell him what to do. He doesn't like anybody to challenge his authority. I worked in public life all my life. You don't treat employees as harshly and nastily as he did.

Rohr left Punta Gordon in 1998, telling a newspaper he had found "fraud" and "corruption" in the city. Efforts to get rid of him were "purely political," he said, "because I was taking on the good-old-boy network."

Newspaper reports from Rohr's time in Newton Falls, Ohio, show that he fought with the mayor and a former city councilman. Rohr charged them with corruption, the same charge he leveled at Joplin council members. Just like in Joplin, Rohr never came through with any evidence that any corruption was taking place. The Globe was aware of the Newton Falls, Ohio, information, information that could have shined a different light on the Mark Rohr controversy, but sat on the information.

The Newton Falls newspaper said the feud began when the former city councilman was looking into complaints from department heads that they were being mistreated by Rohr. The complaints were similar to ones that were heard in Joplin. The Globe had this information.

When Rohr left Newton Falls to take another job, he left a divided city, with petitions supporting him circulating around the city, just like in Joplin.

In the last job Rohr had before coming to Joplin, in Piqua, Ohio, Rohr's first years went smoothly, until people were elected to the City Council with the specific purpose of getting rid of Rohr, who was accused of overspending and mistreating employees.

The documents that were in the possession of the Joplin Globe and Editor Carol Stark have already been used by the 2004 when Andy Ostmeyer, who still works for the newspaper, did a thorough and well-written investigation of the man who was about to become Joplin's city manager.

At that time, Mark Rohr's background was news.

That was before he became Carol Stark's friend.

The Joplin Globe's failure to go back into its own archives and examine Rohr's previous history enabled Rohr to follow the same pattern here where some believed his accusation that it was a corrupt gang of "good old boys" who did him in. Rohr promised to expose the corruption among Joplin City Council members. More than two and a half years have passed and city residents are still waiting to see the evidence he said he had.


Anonymous said...

It is time to bring Mark Rohr back to Joplin. I bet we could hire him for less than half the salary we were paying him. We are on the verge of hiring another Master Developer and Mark certainly has some experience in this process.

Anonymous said...

This guy should give Charlie Sheen lessons on how to be winning!

Steve Holmes said...

In an article announcing the hiring of Rohr, a League City Councilman said he knew David Wallage to be a man of character. The firing of Rohr in Joplin? "Just politics," the Councilman said.

I wonder what he says today.

Steve Holmes said...

Interesting. The meeting agenda lists presentations by the Deputy City Manager and the Asst City Manager, but none by Rohr. Wonder why? He's on the payroll at least during the public part of the meeting.

Anonymous said...

Update: Rohr was fired by the League City council.